Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Muschkies Webber - February 2, 1987

German Occupation

When the Germans marched down the street do you remember any feelings of any sort, frightened, excited?

In a way it was maybe...kind of a relief from the fact that every time there was a little siren or something, we had to put on certain masks and run to the basement, because I guess they thought that maybe the city was going to be bombed before the German walked in. We used to have to spend the night in the basement, unfinished cellar. That wasn't very pleasant. So when the Germans walked in, we...what I remember of it is looking through the gate from our house and seeing the motorcycles that's what attracted me and I thought it was a very wonderful sight. The soldiers with their helmets on, on their motorcycles and uh, I didn't think it was anything that terrible at the time.

But your parents were upset?

My parents were very upset. The whole mood, the whole way of life, so suddenly changed.

When your father lost, back in the ghetto, when your father lost his business, this was when the ghetto was formed so he couldn't go out anymore to take pictures?

Right. Well, he was slowly things were taken away from him.

What did he do?

Well he still had to go into the studio you see, he still had to go in there so he was not home. He still was at the studio, but there was somebody else running his studio in a way.

Even after the ghettos?


Your father, was he taken away eventually?

I guess my father had maybe the foresight to see what was going to be happening or maybe he listened a little bit more carefully and believed a little bit more of the stories that were brought into the ghetto about what was happening in other cities. When a camp was being formed you see, once you had a place where to work, then you were safe. When a Jew had a place where to work and because we were in an industrial city, we had ironworks and making bricks and other things, then you felt that you were needed. There was another factory that was moving into our area which was in Bodzechów , I think it was, my mother said, electronics, a German firm and they needed a certain amount of people to work as laborers. Somehow my father was able to get himself as part of that group to have a place that he is working and my mother was signed up to be working in the kitchen. I didn't exist. You see children didn't have a place. He also made somehow arrangements, as I said we were in a position that with giving favors or other things to certain people you were able to get preferred treatment. To get this card that allowed you to be legally in town, or legally at a certain camp and you thought that you were safe. He was also able to get a card like this for that uncle of mine that came to town with his wife and child. But the wife and child I don't think were involved at the time but for him so he would be also safe. Well a few days before the wysiedlenie before our town was surrounded and the Jews were removed from the city, there was talk about it that it was going to take place. My father and mother were transported to the Bodzechów camp, and I was smuggled in there. But I was not counted. I was not a person that had a right to be there.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn